Like most downtowns in the nation, Fernandina’s center had at one time been that place where residents bought their groceries, sundries, hardware and other staples.But in comparison to the invasion of strip malls and the rise of shopping centers, the downtown looked frayed by the 1970s, and was slowly dying.

Seeing their livelihood declining, a group of downtown business owners joined together to form the Amelia Island-Fernandina Restoration Foundation, an improvement committee to try and stop the stagnation while capitalizing on the city’s historic theme.

The merchants pooled $13,500 of their own money along with a donation of $5,000 from the developers of Amelia Island Plantation to fund a 1973 revitalization master plan by Eugene Smith Associates of Bath, Ohio.

Source: From Centre Street to Main Street: Marketing Fernandina’s historic downtown | Fernandina Beach News-Leader
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